Saturday, January 24, 2009

guileless and lovely

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Genre: historical fiction, epistolary
Review: Epistolary novels can be such fun to read, and this one is certainly no exception. The technique of using the exchange of letters to tell the story allows the author to use each character's voice in an authentic way that traditional story-telling doesn't usually allow. In tone, I found this book similar to the delightful 84, Charing Cross Road. Juliet, the main character, or main letter-writer as the case may be, has a guileless voice that was a pleasure to read.

The one false note I found in this story was the ease with which the Guernsey Islanders allowed Juliet to adopt Kit (both literally and figuratively). That Kit herself should take to Juliet as well as she does I did not find surprising, as one can clearly tell from her letters that she is the kind of person children like (and, yes, that is high praise). But for a group as insular as the Islanders declare themselves to be, and as protective of and attached to Kit as the Literary Society was, to give Kit over to Juliet after only a few months acquaintance, did not ring as true as the rest of the story did.

Other than that, I loved this book. Each character has a distinct voice, and I wanted to be able to exchange letters with them all myself.

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